SINGAPORE – Two years since the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination was included in the National Childhood Immunisation Programme for girls and women aged nine to 26 as a preventive measure against cervical cancer, doctors TODAY spoke to have noted that the take-up rate for the vaccination appears lacklustre.
Last year, about 8,700 patients used their Medisave for HPV vaccinations, according to figures provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
While the approval of Medisave use in November 2010 has spurred more people to have the vaccination, Dr Leslie Tay, a senior family doctor at Karri Family Clinic, noted that this is “only a slight improvement” and that “Singapore parents still aren’t as enthusiastic (about vaccinating their daughters) by and large”.
Other doctors, including some from SingHealth polyclinics, noticed a similar trend. Dr Christopher Chong, obstetrician, gynaecologist and urogynecologist who runs a practice at Gleneagles Hospital, said the lack of awareness is one of the main reasons why parents are not vaccinating their daughters despite some public education efforts. “From my experience, it is all about education. Many do not know about vaccination but they are often convinced after attending talks on it,” he said.
While the HPV vaccine is not offered as part of the school-based immunisation programme, parents of girls and women aged nine to 26 can tap into their Medisave accounts and use up to S$400 each year to pay for the jabs. More than one account may be used. At SingHealth polyclinics, the vaccine is priced at S$120 per dose or S$324 for a package of three doses.